Cumbria Crack

Sculpture project brings students from mainstream and SEN secondary schools together in Kendal

Pupils from Sandgate School and The Queen Katherine School working together

[T]his week pupils with a range of abilities and disabilities from two Kendal schools came to participate in a sculpture project delivered by Create, the UK’s leading charity empowering lives through the creative arts.

Part of Create’s national award-winning creative:connection programme, the project enabled pupils in Year 9 and above from The Queen Katherine School and Sandgate Special School to work collaboratively, build trusting relationships with each other and develop their creativity, social skills and confidence. The pupils worked with Create’s professional visual artist Jack Cornell to create large-scale sculptures made using recycled materials and inspired by the theme of ‘the environment’.

Pupils putting the finishing touches to their jellyfish sculpture

The young people’s creation was unveiled in a final presentation to an audience of staff and students from both schools on Friday 13 July. This opportunity to share their creative work boosted their self-esteem and strengthen the supportive relationships developed through the programme.

In a survey carried out by Scope and Mumsnet in 2014, four in 10 parents of children with disabilities reported that their child ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ has the opportunity to socialise with children without disabilities. Scope also found that two-thirds of the British public feel uncomfortable when talking to people with disabilities, and that people with disabilities themselves think more interactions between children with and without disabilities would bring about improved attitudes towards people with disabilities.

Pupils working with Create’s professional artist Jack Cornell

creative:connection encourages the development of positive attitudes among young people through the experience of collaborative expression, enabling children with a range of abilities and disabilities to come together to make art. By bringing them together, the stereotypes, misconceptions and anxieties that reinforce social barriers can be broken down.

Create’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive, Nicky Goulder, said: “The opportunities in place for young people from mainstream and special schools to come together can be infrequent. creative:connection works hard to change this. As well as the confidence and creativity that young people gain from working collaboratively in the workshops, the shared understanding that they develop can be carried with them through to adulthood, helping to shape a more caring and inclusive society.”

Deputy Head at Sandgate School Julia McDonald said: “Our students get so much out of the Create projects: they make positive links with their QKS peers and for some it’s the beginning of great friendships. Following the last Create project, one of our students started to join Queen Katherine School drama lessons. They settled in so well because they had already established a small friendship group from working together on the Create project.”

creative:connection is running from 9-13 July. The sharing is taking place on the afternoon of 13 March.

Funders: Anonymous, Cumbria Community Foundation, Cumberland Building Society Charitable Foundation, The Persula Foundation, The Proven Family Trust.

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